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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan will not negotiate with China under military threat: Ma

ROC Central News Agency

Taipei, July 20 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said in an interview with the U.S. cable TV channel CNN broadcast Saturday that the top goal of his presidency is to pursue peace with China, but stressed that Taiwan cannot negotiate with Beijing under threat of attack from its missiles.

In the interview on CNN's TalkAsia with host Anjali Rao, Ma said Taiwan has already requested that China's more than 1,000 missiles targeting Taiwan be removed.

Ma also stressed the importance of Taiwan's meaningful participation in the World Health Organization, saying that "Taiwan must preserve its international space."

"These issues are very complicated and are inter-connected with each other (with Beijing) . Of course, those issues cannot be solved overnight, " he said in the interview conducted July 14.

Despite the improving relationship between Beijing and Taipei, Ma ruled out a direct meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao anytime soon.

"I don't think this is an issue of any urgency we are talking, " he said. "We will talk, but not by ourselves, by what we would call 'white gloves.'"

Ma described China's leaders as "tough people" but willing to "demonstrate their sophistication by taking pragmatic approaches to issues that remain unresolved between the two sides" and considered the Chinese as "our compatriots."

On the recent opening of direct cross-strait weekend charter flights and increased numbers of Chinese tourists making sightseeing trips to Taiwan, Ma said "this is something very important and historic" since the two sides were enemies for over 60 years.

But he stressed that "this is just the beginning, " adding that "we do have the issue of international space, for instance, our meaningful participation in the World Health Organization. And of course, security issues."

Ma also expressed confidence that relations between Taiwan and the United States will remain unchanged. "Whoever gets elected, they certainly get to look after the American national interest in this part of the world."

He said he believes that a harmonious Taiwan Strait is what the U.S. is looking for. "I've made it very clear that I'm not going to be a troublemaker."

(By Deborah Kuo)

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